The distinct aroma of cinnamon is a favorite among many. It’s a must-have in any pantry and works wonderfully in a variety of recipes.
Whether you sprinkle the spice on oatmeal or apple sauce, it’s hard to resist the flavour of cinnamon. It is a popular ingredient in many desserts like cinnamon rolls, apple pies and tarts. A dash of cinnamon also works well in coffee, lattes, and smoothies.
Cinnamon has been around since back in the days of Ancient Egypt when it was once a rare and valuable commodity that only kings could afford. Today, cinnamon is inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores.
The spice is derived from the stems of cinnamon trees. The inner bark is extracted after the woody outer bark is removed. The long strips of inner bark are then dried, forming cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon sticks can then be ground down into powdered cinnamon.
Did you know that cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices in the world? It has powerful effects on health and metabolism which are explained in detail later in this article.
But not all cinnamon is created equal. There are two main types of cinnamon – one variety that shines and another that dulls in comparison. Keep reading to find out which type is better for you.
Is Cinnamon Keto Friendly?
A teaspoon of cinnamon is fairly low in carbs, and due to its strong flavor, most recipes wouldn’t call for much more than that amount.
Adding cinnamon to your bulletproof coffee or smoothies provides additional support for insulin signaling and helps burn fat.
How Many Carbs are in Cinnamon?
One tablespoon of cinnamon contains 6 grams of carbs. A teaspoon of cinnamon contains 2.1 grams of carbs. Due to its powerful flavor, most recipes wouldn’t call for much more than this amount, therefore, cinnamon works well for low carb diets.
How Many Calories are in Cinnamon?
One tablespoon of cinnamon contains 19 calories. A teaspoon of cinnamon contains only 6 calories. Cinnamon is very low in calories. If you’re following a low-calorie diet, feel free to sprinkle it liberally on foods as part of a balanced diet. The spice also helps boost metabolism, which is a win-win if you’re trying to lose weight.
|Amount: 1 tablespoon of Cinnamon (7.8 grams)|
|Total Fat 0.1 grams||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 grams||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Trans fat 0 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 0.8 milligrams||0%|
|Potassium 33.6 milligrams||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6 grams||2%|
|Dietary fiber 4.1 grams||16%|
|Sugar 0.2 grams|
|Protein 0.3 grams||0%|
|Vitamin A||0%||Vitamin C||0%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||0%|
Cinnamon is high in cinnamaldehyde, a substance that scientists believe is responsible for most of its health benefits.
Rich in Antioxidants
Cinnamon is loaded with powerful polyphenol antioxidants that protect your body from oxidative damage and free radicals. One study compared the antioxidant activity of 26 different spices and cinnamon won the top place, even beating garlic.
Studies show that the antioxidants in cinnamon have powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well that can help lower your risk of diseases caused by inflammation, such as cancer, arthritis, and asthma.
Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Cinnamon may help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. These factors combined have the potential to significantly lower the risk of developing heart disease. Cinnamon spice is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, the leading cause of early death.
One recent study concluded that a dose of 120 milligrams per day of cinnamon had the ability to increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels in humans.
Other studies on animals suggest that the spice may reduce blood pressure.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Cinnamon has been shown to significantly increase sensitivity to the hormone insulin and can significantly improve insulin resistance, thus lowering blood sugar levels.
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, having a strong anti-diabetic effect at a dose of 0.5–2 teaspoons daily. Cinnamon is famous for its blood-sugar-lowering properties. In fact, the spice can lower blood sugar by up to 30 percent.
This is because cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after eating. This occurs because the spice interferes with digestive enzymes, slowing the breakdown of carbs.
Helps Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, may be improved by taking a daily dose of cinnamon.
One study on mice with Parkinson’s disease demonstrated cinnamon’s ability to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function. However, the findings require further testing on humans.
Cinnamon has been vastly studied for its potential use in the treatment and prevention of cancer. However, research is limited to test-tube and animal studies. These studies show that cinnamon extracts may help protect against cancer by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of tumors. The spice even appears to kill existing cancer cells.
Fights Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Cinnamaldehyde, the main active compound in cinnamon may help combat infections. Cinnamon oil is also effective in the treatment of fungal respiratory tract infections.
The spice also has the ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria, like Listeria and Salmonella.
Another bonus of cinnamon’s antimicrobial effects is that the spice could also help prevent tooth decay and bad breath.
May Help in the Treatment of HIV
The HIV virus attacks the immune system and if left untreated, can eventually lead to AIDS. The extract of cassia cinnamon is believed to help fight against HIV-1, the most common strain of the virus in humans.
A laboratory study on HIV-infected cells found that cinnamon was the most effective treatment of all 69 medicinal plants tested. However, more trials are needed to confirm if these effects can be reproduced on humans.
While consuming small to medium amounts of cinnamon is safe, eating too much of the Cassia variety could cause some undesirable side effects. Cassia cinnamon contains high amounts of coumarin, which is associated with liver damage and cancer.
Instead, stick with Ceylon cinnamon which contains only contains only trace amounts of coumarin.
Types of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is available in the following two main types:
Both types of cinnamon offer health benefits, but Cassia may cause problems in large amounts due to its coumarin content. Coumarin is believed to be harmful in large doses. Most cinnamon found in grocery stores is of the cheaper Cassia variety.
Ceylon cinnamon is much safer to consume. Studies show that it’s much lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety.
Keto Bulletproof Coffee Recipe
Give your mornings a jump start with this satiating java that’s sure to boost your energy. Each cup contains 124 calories and is completely carb-free if you resist adding milk and sugar.
- 8 ounces freshly-brewed hot coffee
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Melt coconut oil into coffee by stirring with a spoon or pour into and whip until a frothy. Add cinnamon (and heavy cream, if desired) and blend for another few seconds to combine.
- Top with an additional sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy!
Does Cinnamon Boost Metabolism?
Cinnamon is also believed to help speed up metabolism because your body uses more energy to digest and process this spice than most other foods.
Is Cinnamon Gluten-Free?
Be careful when using dried spices, like cinnamon that you purchase at the grocery store or order online as they can be cross-contaminated with gluten. Look for brands that specify that their ground cinnamon is gluten-free.
The best solution to this problem is to grind whole cinnamon sticks at home to make your own powdered cinnamon.